The American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ annual conference is officially halfway done, and the first few days have been a whirlwind. The opening ceremony kicked off Wednesday with awards given to some of the most impressive nurses in the game, and keynote speaker Elizabeth Smart inspired the crowd with her harrowing story ending in hope and healing. On Thursday, the Exhibit Hall, packed with sponsor booths and research presentations, also opened. Here are some highlights from the past three days:
- Mary Wakefield’s, PhD, RN, acceptance speech for her Sharp Cutting Edge Award. The title celebrates nurses who’ve advanced the profession and patient care through innovation and advocacy. Dr. Wakefield, who worked for the Obama Administration, garnered cheers from the crowd when she announced that, no matter how entrenched she became in politics, she always introduced herself as a nurse first. Read more inspirational messages from fellow awardees.
- Research presentations in the Exhibit Hall. The aisles with posters displaying the results of NPs’ dedication to forwarding the profession and quality improvement attracted a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd on Thursday afternoon. The most-attended presentations addressed the importance of mentorship among acute care APRNs and the implementation of a full-practice authority for NPs at the VA.
- Tips for NPs on addressing criticism of their training and education. As the NP profession gains more respect, more critics are coming out of the woodwork, especially online and in the media. A panel hosted by AANP’s PR agency, SevenTwenty, advised NPs facing criticism to always “stay on message” by emphasizing all the good NPs do to fill gaps in healthcare access. You can also report incorrect information about NPs you see online to the AANP.
- Learning about racial disparities in healthcare. Attendees of the “What is Race and Why Does It Matter?” CE session on Thursday morning engaged in heartfelt discussions about the role of race when treating patients and in nursing education. Many attendees praised the session, taught by Juliette G. Blount, RN, MSN, NP, as the first time they’d seen this topic discussed at a conference, and Blount confirmed that it was the first time she’d taught the two-part course on a national stage. Learn more about the lessons from this course.
AANP’s conference continues until the afternoon of Sunday, June 23, and there are more informative events to come. To name one, the closing speech by Margaret A. Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, FAANP, CSP, FAAN, DCC, FNAP, where she’ll discuss how to find your own NP voice, will have plenty of wisdom.